T (without) T: A Farewell of Sorts?

For a long time I’ve wondered when, if and how I would write this post. Would the TwT days be limited to the soul-searching travel adventures of my 20s? Or would TwT continue along with me through the next decade — a (presumably) slightly more responsible chapter with less movement, different questions, and more studying? And what about beyond all that? As I’ve said from day 1, this “travel” blog isn’t just about global trips: it’s about the trip you are on with yourself as you make decisions about life all along the way. Yes, it has technically been “my” trip, but I know from the comments I’ve received that this is a trip we are all on (although the scenery, the vehicle, the snacks and the daydreams are slightly different — and I probably have more snacks than anyone). While blogging about the various decisions I’ve had to and chosen to make over the last several years, I’ve learned that sometimes the most exotic option is staying still and committing to something. The great unknown can be found in every step forward, even those footsteps that don’t go very far. But now I’ve begun to ask myself a question: do I keep writing about it all, or do I just walk away?

November Woods. Storm King Art Center. NY.

November Woods. Storm King Art Center. NY.

You may or may not have noticed that TwT has gone quiet lately. In fact, this is the longest I’ve gone without writing a new post in the over-four-year history of TwT! This timidness is an inevitable consequence of my new life as a grad student (who has time?!), and of course, my new goals. Before I continue, let me just say that this is not a final “goodbye” or “the end” of TwT […she types as she pretends to hear many e-sighs of relief…] I’d like to think that TwT is here to stay, even as it changes form and grows like a vine around my little world, spreading up and out in unpredictable directions yet always staying connected to where it all began.

Reflection. Goldsworthy. Storm King Art Center. NY.

Reflection. Goldsworthy. Storm King Art Center. NY.

But let’s be honest: grad school has taken over my life (and it’s not that sexy to read about). There is less and less actual “travel” in Travels with Tavel (sniff, sniff) and much of what I’d want to write about is off-limits (darn!). As my transition from travel writer and editor to physical therapist continues, I’ve decided to start shrinking my online presence. There is so much to say when it comes to what this transition feels like, what I am learning, and what I hope to experience as a student and, eventually, as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, but I guess we’ll just have to have actual conversations about all that now (can you imagine?!).

Storm King Art Center. NY.

Storm King Art Center. NY.

As I meet more and more people in this new identity as a DPT student, I find myself still wanting to tell them about a whole different life I had before all this. Most of the people who I meet now don’t know much about the girl who spent a month volunteering in Costa Rica, a month traveling alone around Mexico, and months fighting a parasite in Ecuador (among other exotic and dangerous adventures, although Juan the Amoeba certainly left his mark). Most don’t know what led to this person, to this blog, and what led to giving all of that up. (And who’s to say anyone cares?!) That said, the time has come to put TwT aside for a little bit. I’m still Travels with Tavel. I always will be! But I’ve decided to keep more of the journey to myself, now.

But wait! Don’t go! Here is what I have decided:

I am not done writing TwT (or writing, in general, if I have any say in the matter). While you can expect fewer future posts, at least for the time being, I want to celebrate the past ones. I think I will put together a little book at the beginning of 2014 (complete with many photographs from all my adventures) called Travels with Tavel, The Book. It will be an edited, slightly more cohesive version of this blog with what I consider the best posts and the meat and potatoes of this “journey,” and less of, well, the “filler.” It will be for me to have and cherish in my own little way, but it will also be available to anyone who wants to read about it all, and maybe even share it with a 20-something who isn’t sure what to do with him/herself. Sound good?!

Friends walking while leaves surround them. Storm King Art Center. NY.

Friends walking while leaves surround them. Storm King Art Center. NY.

Right now, my online life consists mostly of midterm status updates and the occasional outdoor run (come on Tavel — you can do better than that!). There is more going on (I promise!) but it’s time to keep some of that stuff to myself. Despite the obviously less appealing blog material, I am very much excited about where I am going, although slightly impatient to finally get to the part where I have a job again (2.5 more years…!). As I bury my head deeper into my anatomy books and force my feet to stay grounded on the familiar NYC pavement, I still feel surrounded by exciting possibilities. At some point, I guess I just decided to share less of them with the world.

NYC skyline from Brooklyn.

NYC skyline from Brooklyn.

It’s been wild getting here (like… really wild). As long as I have anything to do with it, the Travels with Tavel are far from over! Yet I feel compelled to explain what may become a new silence on the blog. Not knowing where I’m going or what is next has been one of the few constants in TwT, but I do know that finding out is still one of the most exciting adventures I could possibly be on.

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